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Let’s meet the UNC Tar Heels

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Last team we ran this feature, it was on fellow ACC team, Duke.  This time around Villanova will face a much more talented team in North Carolina.  Ranked No. 1 for several weeks this season, the Tar Heels will be the second straight opponent Villanova played who has held a top ranking.

1) Who are they?  North Carolina, Duke and UCLA are three of the most historic programs in college basketball, and Villanova will have played all three  when it tips off against the Tar Heels on Saturday.  North Carolina has already won four National Championships, with one coming under current Head Coach Roy Williams. 

This season the Tar Heels start senior forward Tyler Hansbrough, junior forward Deon Thompson, senior guard Danny Green and junior guards Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson.

2) How did they get here?  North Carolina won the regular season ACC title, going 13-3 within the season.  Overall the Tar Heels are 32-4, with their four losses coming against Boston College, Wake Forest, Maryland and Florida State.  The loss to the Seminoles was in the ACC tournament, but the Tar Heels were without Lawson.

In the NCAA tournament, North Carolina has beaten Radford, LSU, Gonzaga and Oklahoma.  The closest margin of victory in those games was 12 points to Oklahoma.

3) Who to watch: Hansbrough may have a National Player of the Year award under his belt, but the key to the Tar Heels’ success is Lawson.  When he is healthy, the Tar Heels are close to unstoppable.  Presumably, he has overcome an injury to his toe and has looked fabulous in the team’s four tournament games.  If Villanova is to win, it needs to find any way to slow down the junior guard.

4) What to expect:  Although they have already played Duke and Pittsburgh, North Carolina is by far the most talented team Villanova has played.  The Tar Heels have a prolific offense, scoring 90 points per game and having five players averaging at least 10 points.  Villanova will need to play as well offensively as it did earlier in the season when the Wildcats knocked off Marquette and Syracuse.  This will be a high-scoring contest, and the key for Villanova will be the play of Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher, as the Tar Heels have had trouble containing point guards all season.

-David Cassilo

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  1. Tooch
    April 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    All good points, I agree across the board. This could and probably will see both teams hit at least 80 a la Marquette and Syracuse in early February. Hopefully our physical, demanding defense throws UNC off a bit, I think it has the potential to do so. One thing though:

    “North Carolina, Duke and UCLA are three of the most historic programs in college basketball, and Villanova will have played all three in a row when it tips off against the Tar Heels on Saturday.”

    Not quite true, as Pitt came in between those three.

    • villanovansports
      April 1, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      Good catch, thanks.

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